Not long ago, the news was filled with two things: an election and a hurricane. Both were unpredictable; neither had a certain outcome.
Back in those days – just a month ago – the hurricane was major news.
Hurricane Matthew made land in the United States in early October. Evacuations took place across the coastal south. As I watched and read the news, I found myself wondering: what happens in faithful families when you flee from extreme weather? What prayers do you reach for? What verses sustain you?
People fleeing extreme weather have more urgent concerns than providing an essay about the experience. Understandably, their focus is immediate: where will I stay? what will I pack? what does my home need?
Once normal life resumed, two Grow Christians readers – Andrea McKellar and Kasey Ray-Stokes – were kind enough to send blog posts sharing their stories from Hurricane Matthew. Regular contributor Rachel Jones shared a story of her own on the same theme. Together they made a wonderful series.
And then this editor realized: the only available time for this wonderful series was election week.
So here we are. This introduction post will run Monday, November 7th. Our first Hurricane Matthew story will be shared on the day of the election, November 8th.
All this week, no matter the election’s outcome, on Grow Christians we will be telling stories about how we prayed and responded in a time of natural disaster.
There’s something strangely appropriate about that.
We know now that our actions do have an impact on the weather. But although our choices and policies influence the weather, we experience it as beyond our capacity to control.
So also this election. Our actions have an impact on the outcome, but it is beyond our capacity to control.
But no matter what happens on Tuesday, on Wednesday we can reach out to our neighbors. We can pray and we can act for the good of all. Our own response is (mostly) within our capacity to control. We can take practical action, seeking to embody the love of Christ – as Andrea, Kasey and Rachel did when the waters rose.
This week, I’ll be following the news closely, and likely you will too. But I’ll also be following Grow Christians. It turns out that there’s something to learn from how we handle hurricanes. At least, that’s what I’ve concluded, reading the stories that were shared with me.
An election and a hurricane do have a few things in common. Neither happens in a single day. Both build to a crescendo over time. The aftermath matters as much as the moment of greatest intensity.
Both a hurricane and an election require a faithful response. We hope the stories shared this week will help you craft your faithful response to whatever the week may bring.
A Prayer for Today
Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace: Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
[Photo credit: By NASA, data superimposed by TheAustinMan (https://worldview.earthdata.nasa.gov) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.]
What lessons have you learned from hurricanes? from elections?